Greg Corombos of Radio America and Jim Geraghty of National Review applaud Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker for rapidly growing his state’s economy and giving back surplus dollars through tax cuts. They also cheer West Virginia’s Democratic-led legislature for approving a ban on abortions after 20 weeks. They wonder how Jeffrey Thompson’s confessions to shady campaign fundraising will affect Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign. Finally, they poke fun at Senate Democrats for having a climate change talk-a-thon when they can’t even get their own caucus on board.
Archives for March 2014
President Obama is telling immigrant families that those who are here legally are eligible for Obamacare and none of them need to worry because no health care information will end up in the hands of immigration officials.
Obama made the statement last week in a forum with prominent Hispanic media outlets, sponsored by the likes of Univision and Telemundo. One of the questions dealt with concerns by legal immigrants that signing up for health care through the new laws would expose the illegal status of family members.
“It’s true that the undocumented are not eligible. That’s how the law was written,” said Obama. “None of the information that is provided in order for you to obtain health insurance is in any way transferred to immigration services.”
Now a longtime Republican member of Congress says this is the latest evidence of why Obama’s approach to immigration reform is fatally flawed and provides additional reasons why Obama may not be fit to serve the remainder of his term.
California Rep. Dana Rohrabacher is a fierce opponent of the the immigration reforms being promoted in Congress. He is disgusted, but not surprised, by Obama’s statement.
“This is consistent with the president’s commitment to the law and to the Constitution. We have him over and over again stating that he’s going to do what he wants. Whether or not this is consistent with the Constitution isn’t even part of his consideration,” said Rohrabacher, who says the job of government is to enforce the laws.
“We actually hire these people, including the president, in order to enforce the laws that have been created by ‘We the People’ through the Congress. Obviously, he thinks he can ignore some laws and enforce others. This is the first president that has been so blatant,” he said.
In addition to alleging Obama is selectively enforcing federal laws, Rohrabacher says failing to crack down on illegal immigrants is adding great sums to our debt, with Obamacare being a prime example.
“We clearly have a president who is dedicated to the well-being of people who are here in our country illegally. Instead of watching out for the interests of the American people, we have him watching out for the interests of foreign people who come here illegally. It is not in our interest to have people consuming health, education and limited other dollars…when our own people are struggling to make the payments that are necessary to provide these services for our own people. So this is an outrage,” said Rohrabacher.
The congressman also says encouraging government agencies not to share vital information is a terrible practice and not long ago led to one of the greatest calamities in American history.
“The last time the issue was whether or not people transmit information from one branch of government to another in order to enforce the law, we ended up with 9/11. We ended up with a major catastrophe for our country,” said Rohrabacher, referring to the “wall” that prevented information sharing between the FBI and CIA during the 1990s.
“Now this isn’t going to happen with the fact that some illegals are now consuming government resources that they shouldn’t be consuming in terms of limited health care dollars, but it still reflects the type of attitude that is a big minus for our country,” he said.
In the wake of unilateral Obamacare delays and adjustments in immigration policies in recent years, frustrated Americans often ask why Congress doesn’t do something about the president’s allegedly selective enforcement of U.S. laws. Rohrabacher says their answer is in the mirror.
“The most important thing we can do is mobilize the American people. The American people can’t sit back and say, ‘Well, Congress has to handle this.’ We all have to do it. We have three years to get this guy out. Let me put it this way, he probably has been engaged in these unconstitutional approaches that may make his own ability to stay in office a question,” said Rohrabacher.
“At the very least, we need to make sure after three years that we get a president who will set us back on the right path and we have a Congress, meaning a Senate and a House, that can stand unified and try to prevent the damage you have from an arrogant president who thinks he can enforce only the laws he agrees with,” he said.
Last month, House Speaker John Boehner said immigration reform is on indefinite hold in the House because a strong majority of GOP members simply don’t trust the president to enforce all aspects of any legislation that gets approved. Rohrabacher says Obama’s statement on health care and illegal immigration is a perfect example of that mistrust.
“I think this is a major factor in every piece of legislation that will actually be a reform of the system. We can actually put down in black and white in terms of what the new system is going to look like,” said Rohrabacher. “But if we’re doing that with the knowledge that the President of the United States will pick and choose how exactly he’s going to enforce that law or how he will structure his reaction to this new mandate by Congress, then it is a deterrent for us to thinking that we can solve any major problems in the next three years.”
Greg Corombos of Radio America and Jim Geraghty of National Review are happy to hear former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist sound clueless about Obamacare as he runs for his old job as a Democrat. They also reluctantly agree with former Defense Secretary Bob Gates 19 predictions that Crimea is already lost to the Russians, and also discussion the USA and EU’s insufficient response to Putin. Finally, they explore Geraghty’s experience at CPAC and Rand Paul’s success in the CPAC straw poll.
The U.S. economy added slightly more jobs than expected in February, but the pattern of job creation remains very sluggish and President Obama only has his own policies to blame, according to Heritage Foundation Chief Economist Stephen Moore.
On Friday, the Labor Department announced the economy added 175,000 jobs last month, although the overall unemployment rate ticked up to 6.7 percent. The job numbers beat the expectation of 149,000 new jobs and mark the 48th straight month of positive job numbers but the number of people leaving the labor force remains a major concern and experts like Moore say by now the jobs numbers should be much better.
“The long-term trend now for five years has been very disappointing job growth. We’re at about half the level of job creation that we should be at. The real unemployment rate, when you include people who have given up looking for work or people who are underemployed, is close to eleven percent. Those are really lousy numbers and it’s hard to put any lipstick on this pig,” said Moore.
“We’ve got an economy that’s just not growing fast enough. It’s not creating the jobs we need. We need about 250,000-300,000 jobs a month,” said Moore, noting that jobs across the pay scale remain scarce.
So what is stopping a spurt in hiring? Moore points his finger at Obama administration policies, namely Obamacare and taxes.
“Obamacare is clearly a job-killer and it’s already having an impact. Of course, the Congressional Budget Office said that we could lose 2.5 million jobs. That is a significant negative for employers and for workers. I think that the tax increase I think the tax increase that we had last year is reducing people’s investment in businesses. I think most of the policies in Washington are negative for the economy. If we shifted toward something like a flat tax, it would be huge,” said Moore, who elaborated further on why he thinks a flat tax could provide a massive economic push.
“We need lower tax rates and we need to get rid of double taxation on savings and investment. We need to become one of the lowest tax rate countries, not the highest tax rate country, especially for our businesses. We’re penalizing businesses with our tax code right now. We have the highest corporate tax rate in the world. That is not a policy that is geared toward growth,” said Moore.
Neither party has approached the flat tax legislatively and Republican bills that pass the House rarely get noticed in the Democratically controlled Senate. Moore says many of the GOP ideas are good, but politics prevent much from getting done.
“It’s such a poisonous atmosphere right now, where everything the president is for is bad for the economy. Everything the Republicans are for is probably a benefit to the economy for the most part, except that those can’t get done. The best situation now would be for Washington to do nothing, because the only things the president would allow to get done are things that are negative for jobs,” said Moore.
“The Republicans are kind of in the fetal position right now. They don’t want to do much of anything. The one thing they do want to do is fight against Obamacare, which is certainly a good thing to repeal or correct its worst feature. That’s not enough of an agenda. They have to have a positive solution for growth. They have to be a solutions party,” said Moore.
“When I hear them just being against what Obama’s for, I’m not sure that’s enough to win the elections in 2014 because all of this discussion is in the context of major midterm elections,” said Moore.
Moore says he doesn’t see a single component in the new Obama budget blueprint that he believes will foster stronger job growth. As a result, he says America’s economy will continue to fall further behind.
“We know the formula to do it but we’re not following that formula. That’s why I would say right now, less out of Washington is the best we can hope for,” said Moore.
The world’s attention is focused on Ukraine and it’s not the first time. Ten years ago, another political firestorm unfolded there and Capitol Steps are here to share their classic parody. Our guest is Steps co-founder and star Elaina Newport.
Greg Corombos of Radio America and Alec Torres of National Review are pleasantly surprised to see New Yorkers souring on liberal Mayor Bill de Blasio. They also react to Jay Carney’s incoherent insistence that President Obama was not wrong to mock Mitt Romney’s concerns over Russia in 2012. And they’re stunned to hear President Obama say that Obamacare is working exactly as intended.
Greg Corombos of Radio America and Alec Torres of National Review salute former RT anchor Liz Wahl for resigning on the air over Vladimir Putin’s actions and media propaganda. They also shake their heads as Putin presents the seizure of Crimea as a simple vote of the people. And they rip DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz for likening Darrell Issa’s handling of Wednesday’s IRS hearing to the crushing of rights in Ukraine and Venezuela.
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell told conservative activists on Thursday that if the GOP wins control of the U.S. Senate this year, the party will aggressively pursue and enact conservative policies, but legendary conservative leader Richard Viguerie says the track record suggests something very different.
President Obama’s budget is short on specifics, fudging our current economic state and long on higher spending and higher taxes to pay for his political agenda, according to National Taxpayers Union Executive Vice President Pete Sepp.
Sepp says Republicans offered more fiscally responsible budget proposals than Obama in recent years but their blueprints were also far from what America needs to deal effectively with huge annual deficits and a massive national debt.
On Tuesday, the White House released the president’s budget blueprint for Fiscal Year 2015. It carries a price tag of nearly four trillion dollars, billions more in new spending and higher taxes on the wealthy to pay for it.
Much of Obama’s additional spending would be for infrastructure upgrades and ramping up for universal pre-kindergarten.
“Our budget is about choices, it’s about our values,” said Obama.
House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan dismissed the plan as nothing more than a campaign brochure. So who is right?
“It is hard to call this a serious document if you are indeed serious about reducing the deficit through spending restraint. The message here is more spending and much higher revenues to pay for that spending, along with a lot of other rosy economic assumptions,” said Sepp, who listed several of what he considers flawed assumptions in the budget proposal.
“The assumptions for inflation, that it will be lower than what the Congressional Budget Office just projected, that entitlement payments will be lower than what the Congressional Budget Office projected and that Gross Domestic Product will be a whole lot higher. The differences here add up to a lot over the 10-year budget window,” said Sepp.
“It explains why the Congressional Budget Office just last month was projecting a budget deficit of over a trillion dollars ten years from now. The Obama administration is projecting one half that amount,” he said.
Sepp is also frustrated that the budget plan is lacking important components that make it nearly impossible to project what Obama’s blueprint would do.
“Even though it is once again late, it is also for the first time incomplete for this administration. There are two key documents in the whole set of budget items that are missing so far. These are the analytical perspectives and the historical tables of the budget. Without those, you can’t necessarily understand the assumptions for things like projections of beneficiary populations for the changes in entitlements they’re proposing. For an administration that prides itself on transparency, this is just basic managerial negligence,” said Sepp.
The Obama administration claims the new revenues needed to pay for the proposed spending will come from closing tax loopholes for the rich. Sepp gave us some insight on what officials mean by “rich” and “loopholes”.
“By loopholes, they mean things like imposing the so-called Buffett Rule on wealthy taxpayers. That’s been a staple of Obama’s budgets year after year. They want to propose a shift in rules regarding to what’s called carried interest income. That has a great deal of controversy over how it would impact risk-taking fund managers and their investors,” said Sepp.
“They also want to take a serious bite out of the value of itemized deductions, limiting them to what somebody in the 28 percent as opposed to the 39.6 percent tax bracket would take,” he said.
Sepp says Americans should also remember these tax changes would be on top of the tax hikes that came early last year as part of the deal to avert the so-called fiscal cliff.
House Republicans are expected to unveil their budget blueprint in the coming weeks. While Sepp is highly critical of Obama’s fiscal stewardship and record-setting deficits, he says Republicans do not often propose budgets that would make much of a dent in our losing battle against the debt.
“There have been some problems with Republican budgets in the past. If we were to grade them, many might wind up in the B- and even the C range because many of them fail to address the primary drivers of cost growth, which is Social Security and Medicare in the federal budget. They’ve done some work on voucherization of Medicare and things like premium support. That’s encouraging,” said Sepp.
“But reforming Social Security remains something that neither political party seems to want to touch. Of course, Republicans have not been forthright about the need to restrain military expenditures in the past. That is an important task that both parties have to undertake,” he said.
Greg Corombos of Radio America and Jim Geraghty of National Review review John Cornyn’s big primary win in Texas. They also react to Arkansas Sen. Mark Pryor alleging his GOP opponent feels entitled to a Senate seat because of his military service. And they rip Florida Rep. Alan Grayson after his estranged wife accuses him of domestic violence.